Top 10 Stumbling Blocks that Limit Business Growth
Never in history have more entrepreneurs launched more new businesses! In America, thousands of business open their doors every single day! Unfortunately, most of them (over 90% of them) also close their doors within two years. Businesses are started with high hopes and glorious dreams. It is easy to start a business. It is much more difficult to build it, to make it succeed, to avoid the traps and pitfalls and frustrations, and enjoy the fruits of success over the years. In working with hundreds (probably two to three THOUSAND) entrepreneurs over 25 years, here are the mistakes I see most often. Avoid them!
1. Fear and Confusion. There is either a sense of being over-whelmed by the size of the tasks, or a refusal to master the work of being an entrepreneur and business owner. There are specific skills to owning and running a successful business. Learn them! You can master this! You can focus and succeed! (This is often the time to hire a coach!)
2. Lack of Capital. Capital comes in three forms: Time, money, and energy. Some people have one or two, but not all three, and they fail because they simply can not sustain the growth phase of their business. EVERY business is a commitment of everything you have. You may start "small", but that does not mean casual or part-time!
3. Lack of Courage or Commitment. Building a business is always risky. Some people perceive the risk as frightening, others see it as an exciting challenge, but there is always risk. Manage it. Limit your potential losses. Understand the risks and enjoy the process. You will make mistakes. Learn from them and go on.
4. Refusal to select and target an audience. No one can sell their services to "everyone" - a message that goes to everyone is unlikely to create a sense of urgency in anyone in particular. Attorneys focus on one type of law. Physicians specialize. So should you.
5. Choosing the wrong audience. A market that can not or will not pay or an audience that is too small or dispersed is a recipe for disaster. The "poor" desperately need medical, dental, legal and other services, but who is going to pay you? The same problem exists when trying to reach an audience that is dispersed over a large geographic area and not easily identified.
6. Fuzzy or unfocused message. What exact benefits do you provide? To whom? Under what circumstances and at what cost? How can people contact you? Be precise, be clear, be specific.
7. Lack of planning - too many random efforts. Many entrepreneurs try a little radio, a direct mailing, join a service organization, offer free samples, and then report that they have "tried everything and nothing worked". Pick one, and stay the course! You become identified with your marketing techniques. Choose a logo, a color-scheme, and a marketing technique and stay with it!
8. Too much advertising, too little relationship building. Advertising works best for tangible products because customers can see the results. Intangible services are very difficult to advertise and are almost always purchased based on the quality of the relationship. The more people know you, and the more they know about you and your caring, your professionalism and your quality, the more business you will do. Build networks of relationships!
9. Laziness and/or Greed. Your business ONLY exists to serve the customer! You must make a profit in order to continue serving the customer, but service is the key to success. Everything must be focused on that. The statement, "I want to be my own boss", or "I want a business that supports me" may be true (and be totally honest and reasonable), but they are a dangerous focus for your business. Customers first!
10. Having a product or service that fails to produce adequate benefits, or fails to serve as promised. Some professionals are incompetent. Some don't use current technology, or are sloppy in their delivery. Particularly with services, even ONE mistake will undermine client confidence, loyalty, and trust. Do your best - every time!
Theresa May summoned her cabinet to an emergency meeting on Wednesday afternoon to sign off her long awaited final Brexit deal, prompting hard-Brexit Tories to call for senior ministers to stand up and block it.
Authorities fear that residents will increasingly ignore repeated calls to flee as devastating wildfires become routine
In 13 months, Meg Brown has evacuated her 3,500-acre family ranch just outside of Oroville three times, as the California wildfires have closed in.
After losing animals and historic buildings on Table Mountain Ranch to the 2017 Cherokee fire, she has a plan to respond to such disasters, and how to decide when to stay or go. In recent days, Brown has worked nonstop to secure her animals and livelihood. She and her mother sleep in shifts to ensure the flames of the Camp fire ‚Äď the deadliest blaze in California state history ‚Äďdon‚Äôt surprise them in the middle of the night.
Palestinian militants fired 400 rockets and mortars while Israel planes bombed 100 sites
Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups have accepted an Egyptian-mediated agreement to halt two days of intense fighting with Israel sparked by a botched Israeli special forces raid miles inside Gaza.
The sudden announcement late on Tuesday brought a lull to the outbreak of violence in which both sides launched scores of bombings and reprisal attacks. Israeli civilians hid overnight in shelters from relentless rocket barrages and Palestinians cowered in basements from thundering airstrikes.
Turkish president keeps up pressure on Saudi crown prince, as pro-government paper publishes x-rays of hit team‚Äôs luggage
Audio evidence related to the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi contains appalling details of the crime, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdońüan, has said, as he continues to pile pressure on the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
Erdońüan‚Äôs latest intervention came as the New York Times reported that a member of the Saudi hit team dispatched to Istanbul to kill Khashoggi told one of his superiors by phone to ‚Äútell your boss‚ÄĚ the operation was accomplished, an apparent reference to Prince Mohammed, and a Turkish newspaper published x-ray images of the team‚Äôs luggage, which included defibrillators and syringes.
Report bitterly contested by scientists who say threat comes from climate change, which has pushed bears closer to humans ‚Äď not because the population is growing
Too many polar bears are roaming the Canadian Arctic, and the growing population is posing an increasing threat to Inuit communities, according to a controversial new government report which has been bitterly contested by environmental scientists.
The draft report was prepared by the Nunavut government, and consists of submissions from Inuit community groups across Canada‚Äôs northernmost territory. Public consultations are set to start on Tuesday before the government unveils the final report later in the year.
400 migrants arrive by bus after splitting from caravan
Troops erect barbed wire and barricades at California crossing
Hundreds of Central American migrants planning to seek asylum in the United States have reached the Mexican border city of Tijuana as the US military reinforced security measures, laying barbed wire and erecting barricades.
London court hears Sheikh Khalifa had agreed to make payments to a third party
A super-wealthy member of the Bahraini royal family has been accused of reneging on a promise to pay $35m (¬£27m) to meet 26 Bollywood stars for whom he had an ‚Äúunbridled desire and fantasy‚ÄĚ.
A London court heard that Sheikh Hamad Isa Ali al-Khalifa, a cousin of the billionaire king of Bahrain and nephew of the country‚Äôs deputy prime minister, had agreed to pay an Egyptian middle man $1.5m for setting up each meeting plus a bonus payment of $500,000 for each third meeting.
Donald Trump ramped up his spat with Emmanuel Macron, the French president, with a denigrating tweet in which he said Parisians had started to learn German during the second world war before the US saved them from occupation.
On Sunday, Romans will vote in a referendum to address a failing transport system that lags behind virtually all European capitals
The images were dramatic: a packed escalator giving way, hurtling dozens of passengers violently downward at Rome‚Äôs Repubblica metro station.
To many of the city‚Äôs residents, however, the 23 October accident was hardly shocking. The explosion of a bus in May on the central shopping street Via del Tritone was no less than the 10th bus to blow up in Rome this year. And although there were no reported injuries, there were 22 bus blasts last year and 14 in 2016, most of which were blamed on short circuits.
Due to its unparalleled exposure to natural disasters, Manizales in central Colombia is globally recognised for its innovative approach to prevention and response
On the evening of 13 November 1985, Luz Estrella Ar√≠as was at home with her young daughter in Rio Claro, a hamlet in Caldas in the heart of Colombia‚Äôs coffee region. When she heard the roar, at first she thought it was a truck overturning. Then she heard the screams.
‚ÄúMy first instinct was to stay in the house,‚ÄĚ she says. ‚ÄúMy husband had a prize cockerel that we couldn‚Äôt afford to lose. But then the water started coming in, so I grabbed my daughter and stepped outside. The water swept me off my feet, but I managed to grab a coffee plant and hang on.‚ÄĚ She swings from one of the pillars of her porch, recreating the gesture.
With a new ‚ā¨2m fishing quay due to open in Senegal‚Äôs capital in February, has modernity finally come for the Soumbedioune fishmongers?
Photographs by Xaume Olleros for the Guardian
It is not the large-eyed dentex‚Äôs lucky day. But it is Yelli Diop‚Äôs.
The Senegalese fisherman has had a very successful haul, and arrives back on Dakar‚Äôs shores with several boxes of fish in the hull. His brightly painted pirogue ‚Äď a long, narrow canoe used by the fishermen here ‚Äď is pulled up on the beach, a length of pipe wedged under it to keep it on the sand, and the orangey-pink fish unceremoniously dumped with dozens of its kin into a crate.
The Chinese megacity of 12 million people is crowded, polluted, and vulnerable to flooding. A rooftop garden is using plants to make stormwater work for the city, and to improve the livelihoods of residents
The outcomes of Trump‚Äôs meltdown could be far worse when it is not Macron on the receiving end but, say, Kim Jong-un
In political science classes in the decades to come, Veterans Day Weekend 2018 is bound to be popular essay topic in the course on the Narcissist Presidency.
It has all the hallmarks of the Trump era: a fabricated story that congeals as fact in the president‚Äôs brain and moments later is broadcast on Twitter. Countless diplomats and officials are sent scurrying to limit the damage, as the chief executive doubles down, refusing to admit a mistake.
MPs who all work for ministers write to chief whip amid growing rebellion over policy
Twelve leading Conservative MPs have written to the chief whip urging the government to bow to pressure to bring forward curbs on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).
The letter comes after more than 100 MPs, including Tory rebels such as Boris Johnson, Jo Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and David Davis, put their name to an amendment designed to force the government to speed up the policy.
Five Star Movement/League government to stick with big-spending strategy in bid to fulfil election promises
The Italian government has defied a request to present a revised draft budget for 2019 to the European commission, as it pursues its big-spending strategy.
Luigi Di Maio, the deputy prime minister and leader of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, which is ruling in coalition with the far-right League, said the government was committed to maintaining its deficit target of 2.4% but it would move forward with plans to cut taxes, introduce a universal basic income and lower the retirement age.
Funding comes as figures show international efforts to expand family planning services by 2020 are falling far short of targets
The UK government has launched a ¬£200m programme to increase the availability of contraceptives in 27 countries across Africa and Asia, in what has been described as a ‚Äúlandmark‚ÄĚ investment.
The women‚Äôs integrated sexual health (Wish) programme from the Department for International Development will expand services to young and poorer women, and aims to support an estimated six million couples a year. The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and Marie Stopes International are to implement the programme.
Scott Morrison‚Äôs first summit season as prime minister begins with the Asean gathering in Singapore. All the day‚Äôs events, live
Josh Frydenberg‚Äôs foray into, as one wag put it yesterday, Pollie-Wood, where he looks as comfortable as, well, as you would expect a politician walking very slowly towards a camera while awkwardly reading a speech, has been a success in the treasurer‚Äôs view, because we‚Äôre talking about it.
‚ÄúI have achieved the objective,‚ÄĚ he told the ABC this morning.
The bells have rung for the Senate and it‚Äôs back to looking at the GST debate. Or, as the government wants you to call it‚Äôs legislation, ‚Äúmaking sure every state and territory gets their fair share of GST‚ÄĚ.
The parentheses in legislation these days is a masterclass in Orwellian language.
Organisation cites ‚Äėapparent indifference‚Äô to atrocities committed against the Rohingya by Myanmar‚Äôs military
Amnesty International has withdrawn a prestigious human rights award from Aung San Suu Kyi, following what it described as a ‚Äúshameful betrayal‚ÄĚ of the values she once stood for.
It is the latest in a series of accolades to be withdrawn from Aung San Suu Kyi, including the US Holocaust Museum‚Äôs Elie Weisel award and Freedom of the City awards, which were revoked by Edinburgh, Oxford, Glasgow and Newcastle.
Footage of a young Syrian woman‚Äôs execution by her brother was greeted with widespread horror. Yet such violence is all too common ‚Äď and as a member of the Free Syrian Army, with its own police and courts, the man is untouchable
Kalashnikov in hand, the man looks into the camera. He stands over a terrified girl, who is pleading for her life.
‚ÄúMake sure we can see both your faces,‚ÄĚ a voice orders.
I‚Äôve long refused to wear a poppy, recalling ‚Äėthe old lie‚Äô; but I‚Äôm now confronting my own refusal to learn
A few houses away from me, a young man died. Sergeant Sutton from the London Regiment was killed in 1918. He was 22, the son of Harry and Rebecca. A couple of doors down, a 19-year-old died. An Irish family who lived nearby lost Private Patrick Joseph O‚ÄôBrien. On the next road, the neighbours at Nos 72 and 74 each lost a son. Rifleman Claude Arthur Ashby died a month before the war ended. He was 17.
It‚Äôs a very middle-class thing never to have known anyone in the army, and I can‚Äôt imagine my current neighbours‚Äô kids joining up. But 17? God. I saw a picture once of a soldier who had wet himself in terror under bombardment. A frightened child. So many frightened children. So long ago. A pointless war. I remember learning about the poetry that taught me not to fall for ‚Äúthe old lie‚ÄĚ and all that, and so I don‚Äôt wear poppies. One of my daughters once answered an exam question on the causes of the first world war with: ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs like they were all dressed up and had to find somewhere to go.‚ÄĚ I got what she meant. The arms race already under way between the major powers meant a war was inevitable. Only this was no party, but mass slaughter. So, no glorifying the military-industrial complex for me. Remembrance is a private act, not a public display. Terrible wars are happening right now that no one thinks can end. I know these arguments well, for I have made them. But I was wrong.
Patriotic fervour greeted Australia‚Äôs entry in 1914. By the time of the armistice on 11 November 1918, the country was marred by rancour
It was mid-afternoon on the east coast of Australia when allied commanders and their German counterparts, after meeting for several days at the forest of Compi√®gne in battle-devastated northern France, agreed to the terms that would end the first world war.
The Germans and British signed the Armistice of Compi√®gne between 5.12am and 5.20am on 11 November 1918, just as shift workers in the eastern coastal cities of Australia were heading home or into the pubs, and about lunchtime in the west.
A wildfire erupted on Monday along the 118 Freeway in Simi Valley, southern California. Firefighting aircraft were deployed to tackle the blaze, which climbed a hillside to the edge of the road as vehicles were driving past
The Camp fire in northern California has killed 42 people, making it the deadliest wildfire in state history. It is also the most destructive, incinerating the town of Paradise and displacing more than 50,000 people. Other blazes continue to rage further south
Democratic representative Kyrsten Sinema speaks about the importance of rising above personal rivalries after beating Republican Martha McSally to take Arizona's open US Senate seat. She said: 'Arizona rejected what has become far too common in our country, name-calling, petty, personal attacks and doing and saying whatever it takes just to get elected. It‚Äôs dangerous and it lessens who we are as a country, but Arizona proved there is a better way forward.' She also paid tribute to 'irreplaceable' senator John McCain, saying 'his example shines a light on our way forward.'
The race between Sinema and McSally was one of the most closely watched in the nation. Sinema is a former liberal activist who became a centrist member of Congress. Her win follows years of Democratic shutouts at the statewide level in Arizona and shows that the longtime Republican bastion is becoming a swing state. Sinema succeeds Republican senator Jeff Flake, who opted not to run.
Multiple fires have been raging in California leaving at least 31 people dead and 150,000 displaced throughout the state. The Camp fire in northern California has become the most destructive wildfire in state history, incinerating the town of Paradise
The comic writer Stan Lee, co-creator of iconic characters including Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Daredevil and the X-Men, has died aged 95. Lee, who teamed up with artists such as Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, revitalised the comics industry with his superheroes, giving them complex emotional lives to colour their all-action adventures. The Marvel Universe he created crossed from page to screen in a series of TV and movie adaptations and changed the face of popular culture.
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